Wild turkeys are making their presence known in Bay Area suburbs, and are causing Bay Area homeowners headaches.
A flock of the "tougher, leaner and smarter" birds caused "thousands of dollars" of damage to a home in Alamo, according to InsideBayArea.com
. They're "smashing plants, crops, lawns and golf courses" statewide.
The wild turkey entered California about 50 years ago from Texas and Colorado. They were once on the brink of extinction but now the birds -- which can grow to up to 20 pounds -- are causing this kind of damage throughout 18 percent of California.
They're particularly well-adapted to the urban and suburban environments, which in the green-friendly Bay Area include plenty of brush and scrub to serve as habitat -- when they're not overrunning gardens.
One bicyclist died when he crashed in Martinez trying to avoid a flock of the birds, according to the newspaper. A motorcyclist wrecked but survived when a turkey hit him on Interstate 680 last year.
Fish and Game officials encourage residents to not feed turkeys, which only emboldens them. Try to shoo them away with a garden hose or an umbrella. Dogs also work, the newspaper reported.
Some hunters prefer wild turkeys for the leaner meat, but local restrictions often outlaw gunfire near homes.
Still, hunters can shoot the birds if they follow the rules.
"Wild turkeys are pretty tasty, so I say if you can hit one legally, go for it," California Fish and Game Warden Ryan McCoy told NBC Bay Area on Friday.
However, McCoy said you should be sure to have a valid hunting license and are on land where it's legal to hunt. You also need to have written permission if you are on private property and that you're firing your weapon the legal distance from residential areas.
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